For the love of music: 'I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends'

Jessica Coker
The benefit for Rick Kurtz is Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Elks Lodge on Okaloosa Island.

Blazing a musical trail along The Gulf Coast in the 1970s, local rock-and-roll band, Aerial Railway was made up of a handful of close friends who loved music and loved to entertain.

The rock-and-roll troupe played in various intimate venues from Destin to Alabama before graduating high school and parting ways.

According to former band member, Scott Crowley, one of Aerial Railways standout members, Rick Kurtz, kept the music playing for years even after the guys went their separate ways.

"Rick went on to play with some pretty amazing, famous people," said Crowley. "Huey Lewis, Gregg Allman, Ray Charles, to name a few." Crowley added that Kurtz was a true musician, "music was his passion and its how he made his living."

Kurtz eventually followed his heart — and the music — to Nashville, Tenn., where his career musical career continued thriving, playing with some of the most well recognized names in rock-and-roll and blues music throughout history.

Sadly, after more than 30 years behind his guitar and countless shows, Kurtz suffered a devastating stroke three years ago that put his music on mute, but also his life. The stroke caused Kurtz to lose 90 percent of the mobility on his left side, making it impossible for him to ever again pick a guitar or perform again.

Not only was suffering the stroke personally disastrous for Kurtz, it was a huge financial blow as well. To help alleviate the cost of some of Kurtz medical bills, Crowley, along with other friends and musicians, including Steve Vogler, Rusty Stone, Jeff Meyers, Greg Roth and many others, have made their way from all over the country to play a benefit in Kurtz honor.

Saturday, starting at 5 p.m. at the Elks Lodge on Okaloosa Island, join Kurtz and his friends as they play an all-ages show. This show — "Reunion for Rick," is at $15 at the door — cash or check, and additional donations are not only always accepted but appreciated during this time of need.

According to Crowley, the various musicians will play sets through the evening, following by an "open jam night."

What they are looking forward to most, said Crowley, "is presenting the money to Kurtz, while we have any many musicians as possible on stage playing 'I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends.'"

For more information on this "Reunion for Rick," please call 706-506-1215.